Words of Encouragement

I was rummaging through an old shoe box the other day that I had labeled “stuff” and came across a stash of cards, letters and notes of encouragement that I’ve collected over the years. I was feeling somewhat melancholy at the time and so it felt good to be reminded of others’ appreciation of me.

What got me to thinking about going through the box was a phone call I received from a former client of mine who wanted to thank me for my kind words to him a couple of years ago at a critical juncture in his life. He shared with me how much my words of encouragement helped him to transition from his architectural practice into full-time pastoral ministry and he wanted me to know of his gratitude.

Needless to say, I was thrilled to hear from him and humbled that the words I spoke to him struck a resounding chord within the sanctuary of his soul. His call was a timely reminder to me of just how much our lives can influence the journey of another through the power of encouraging words.

Making a Difference

As I post my last entry of the year, I am reminded of an excellent book I recently finished reading titled Influencer: The Power to Change Anything. Rather than use this space to highlight its salient points, I instead am inspired to share some instances from my own life this year in which I was able to influence someone else’s life for the better.

Earlier in the year, my wife and I bought an Italian motor scooter called a Vespa. I was so enthused about the scooter that I posted an entry about it on a Vespa forum and included a picture of it. Much to my surprise, I later heard from someone in the Netherlands that they changed their decision about which model to buy based on my glowing review. Suffice it to say that I never dreamed I would help sell an Italian scooter in Holland!

Another example of influence comes from closer at home. On Christmas Day, my wife and I had her parents over for a special supper. After our meal, she and her mother got out the sewing machine to mend a garment and I gave her father a guided tour of the Apple iMac computer we got earlier in the year. He later informed me that as a result of my passionate referral, he went out the very next day and got his own iMac to enjoy!

I could share many other examples of the power of influence but these two seem particularly powerful to me since they involve relatively pricey purchases in the thousands of dollars. While I admit that influencing buying decisions isn’t as big a deal as helping change someone’s daily behavior, helping someone get a good deal does make a difference to them.